The Los Angeles Dodgers, once upon a time in the trade market for Cincinnati Reds ace Luis Castillo, will now have to look elsewhere after the right-hander was dealt to the Seattle Mariners over the weekend.
But that was hardly the story. Yes, the Mariners, jumping in the race perhaps later than others, pulled off a surprising move for a Wild Card team, but it was the package that may have altered the entire trade deadline.
Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto surrendered No. 1 prospect SS Noelvi Marte, No. 6 prospect SS Edwin Arroyo, No. 15 prospect pitcher Levi Stoudt and pitcher Andrew Moore. Those rankings are per MLB.com. Per Baseball America, a publication that more frequently updates its prospect rankings, it was No. 1, No. 2, No. 10 and No. 26.
That’s a considerable package for a pitcher with a career 3.62 ERA, 3.70 FIP and 1.20 WHIP in 137 career games. Just a year ago, Castillo led the league in losses and walks. This year, he’s rebounded, but he’s not striking out nearly as many batters as he’s used to (90 in 85 innings) and is averaging 3.0 BB/9 IP.
Nobody’s saying he isn’t an impactful acquisition that changes the complexion of any contending team, but the Mariners, fairly objectively, overpaid for him. Just think about last year when the Dodgers traded their No. 1 and No. 2 prospects for MAX SCHERZER and 1.5 years of Trea Turner.
Did the Mariners screw up the trade market for the Dodgers?
Did the M’s overpaying for Castillo just force every other team with a starting pitching asset to rethink their asking price? The Reds are certainly doing that with Tyler Mahle, too!
As for the others who might be dealt that the Dodgers could realistically acquire — the Rangers’ Martin Perez, A’s Frankie Montas, Guardians’ Shane Bieber (?!) and Zach Plesac, Pirates’ Jose Quintana and Tigers’ Tarik Skubal (and more) — Andrew Friedman now might be forced to pay an escalated price for lesser talent.
The Giants could still move Carlos Rodón and the D-backs can do the same with Merrill Kelly, but we suspect they won’t deal within the NL West to make the Dodgers better. Castillo really felt like the perfect fit for LA, even if it was costly. But that price was far too steep, and now the rest of the market could become inflated.
Starting pitching always comes at a premium, but Dipoto just made things a bit more difficult for Friedman. Then again, if LA doesn’t like the options currently on the market, Dustin May is on the mend and looking good and Ryan Pepiot is clearly ready for more MLB action.
The Dodgers will overpay for the right situation, but this doesn’t seem like one of those instances. Don’t be surprised if there’s a hope Walker Buehler and May are able to provide the jolt the rotation needs for the final two-plus months of the season.